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pontalba's 2017 reading list

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Books Read in 2017


JANUARY

The Children's Home by Charles Lambert 4/5
The Greatest Knight by Thomas Asbridge. 4/5
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson 4/5
The Long Surrender by Burke Davis 5/5
A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall 4/5

FEBRUARY

The Night Manager by John LeCarre 5/5
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by.
(Read 36%, couldn't finish, depressing)
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood 3/5
The Edge by Dick Francis 5/5
Hawaii by James Michener 5/5
The Perseid Collapse by Steven Konkoly 3/5
Event Horizon by Steve Konkoly 3/5
Watchman by Ian Rankin 4/5
Assignment: Amazon Queen by Edward S. Aarons 3/5

MARCH

Extraordinary People by Peter May 4/5
The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George 5/5
The Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitzek 5/5
If Kennedy Lived: The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy: An Alternate History by Jeff Greenfield 3/5
The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz. 2/5 (if that, I'm being kind)

 

APRIL

 

The Mists of Avalon by M.B. Zimmer 3/5

Triple Crown by Felix Francis 3/5

The Quiet Game by Greg Iles 5/5

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon 5/5

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley 4/5

How Dogs Love Us:  A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain by Gregory Berns  5/5

Bird Box by Josh Malerman 5/5

 

MAY

 

The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter by Malcolm MacKay 3.5/5

Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century by Nancy Schoenberger   3/5

Mystic River by Dennis LeHane 4/5

A Pillar of Iron by Taylor Caldwell 5/5

 

JUNE

Days Without Number by Robert Goddard 5/5

How A Gunman Says Goodbye by Malcolm MacKay 4/5

The Sudden Arrival of Violence by  Malcolm McKay 3.5/5

U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton 4/5

 

JULY

 

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane 4/5

Star Trek:TNG, Vendetta by Peter David 3/5

The Drop by Dennis Lehane 4/5

The Dark House by John Sedgwick 4/5

 

 

 

Edited by pontalba

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Last year was  a slow reading year, but not as slow as some, thankfully.  :)

 

I'm still in the middle of The Greatest Knight, and something else that escapes me atm.  heh

 

Also I'm reading, and will finish today I believe, The Children's Home by Charles Lambert.  Excellent so far, it is reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle.  Not in actual content, but tenor. 

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Thanks Gaia!  I think it's beginning to shape up! :cool:

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Thanks BB! I hope I am able to dent my stacks too! :D

 

BTW, posted a link to one of our Library Thing accounts in #3 post above.

Edited by pontalba

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Drat! I don't know...I just clicked it, and it worked. Maybe you have to be logged in?

 

If you can get onto the site I'm booknest there, and Cateline.

 

 

And thanks! :D

Edited by pontalba

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*************I have edited the link, took off the # sign...don't know why it was there. Try the link now.************

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Ah I managed to see your profile by logging in and changing my name in the URL for yours when I clicked on my profile (I've no idea how you normally add friends, because I've never had one on LibraryThing). I haven't been in LibraryThing in a few years so my collection on there is horribly outdated, but I've sent you a friend request :).

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Got it, and responded, thanks. :)  I couldn't see your books there though. 

 

Finally finished my first book of the year/month!

 

The Children's Home by Charles Lambert 4/5

 

A terribly scarred and disfigured man, a grand secluded estate, furniture and carvings from all over the world are well described by Lambert, creating the centerpiece of our story.  How was he so maimed?  Where is this place? When is this place? And most of all, where are all the children coming from?  All ages, both genders they simply arrive/appear on the estate.  He and his housekeeper are the only inhabitants of the house and they care for the children unquestioningly.  Mysterious wax figures are discovered, and a mission seems to be forming around the man.  He is only told that he will know what to do when the time comes.

 

The reviews on GoodReads are quite mixed, and tend to be lesser rather than more.  I can understand why, but was compelled to rate it as highly as I have because of the ambiance of the story, the mixture of tragedy, love given and received, and total weirdness  truly swept me along.  There is an air of magical realism about the story, not a genre I enjoy.  But, somehow, this works for me.  I would have appreciated a little more.....body to the ending, but it is what it is, and that's ok.

 

Interestingly, there is a small comparison for me to the book The Adventurers by Harold Robbin in that there is a past revolution apparently fueled by an Army that is now in disarray.  That is part of my sympathy for the story, I believe. 

 

Recommended, if you can stand open endings that don't explain everything.

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Thank you, all! :D. Much appreciated!

It's shaping up pretty well.

 

I've started "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena" by Anthony Marra. So far, so good.

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Happily I have finished The Greatest Knight by Thomas Asbridge. A wonderfully told true account of William the Marshall. Based on a manuscript/history from only a few years after his death in 1219, it manages to bring Marshall to life beautifully. Definitely a 4/5.

 

Also finished The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. A twisted, twisty tale of the most appealing psychopath. When I began the story, I imagined one sort of twist, and happily I was wrong! There were several twists, very nicely done.

4/5

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I know we don't often read the same kind of books, but I'm glad you read two books that were 4/5 for you :).

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I know we don't often read the same kind of books, but I'm glad you read two books that were 4/5 for you :).

 

Ditto. It`s great to start the year off with some goodies to encourage you. :)

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I know we don't often read the same kind of books, but I'm glad you read two books that were 4/5 for you :).

 

 

Ditto. It`s great to start the year off with some goodies to encourage you. :)

 

 

Thanks guys!  It's true, but we do appreciate each others reading habits.  That's important. 

 

And....yays!  I've finished The Long Surrender by Burke Davis.  A 5/5 value, for sure!

 

Burke Davis is one of the historians that is able to make history interesting, and tell it in a sometimes non-linear fashion that satisfies.  This is the story of Confederate President Jefferson Davis's long journey to surrender, and his final acceptance of that fate.  General Lee had already surrendered at Appomattox, it was obvious to all that the War was lost to the South.  But Davis still had hopes of running a war from Texas or Mexico, and finally winning.  This book is the story of his long journey, both physical and emotional to capture and acceptance.  We learn of his cabinet members fates, his family and supporters as well.   

 

The book talks about how the War was actually fought over States Rights, not slavery as purported by many.  I can't put my finger on it atm, but there is a quote to the effect that with good Congressional debate the War could have been avoided all together.  I've heard that before, and I believe it.  Most of the men "in charge" really didn't want a war, they wanted peaceful resolution, but the hotheads took over.  That's hotheads in both the North and the South. 

 

Recommended.

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I finished The Night Manager by John LeCarre  last night, its definitely a 5/5.

 

The story begins with a man, a very precise man, acting as a Night Manager of a hotel.  But he is much more than that, he has a bit of a checkered past with the Army and has certain loyalties and qualities that serve him well in the book.  There is a woman, of course, there always is.  Her fate hurtles him into a hunt for justice that takes him to and beyond his physical, emotional and psychological bounds. 

 

The story takes the reader from Egypt, to Switzerland to the deepest jungles of a certain South American land.  Stopping on the way in England and Ireland for a legend (cover story created for a spy).

 

The recent film series made of it followed the book quite closely in most respects.  The book contains more in depth characterization, more detail of course.  Although I have to say the actors managed to project the same vibes as the book.  The ending is quite different though.  The film version is more.....action packed.  Both equally satisfying in their own way. 

 

Still, when all is said and done, I'll always love the Smiley books more than any other LeCarre's.  Just because. :)

Edited by pontalba

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